FOUR TYPES OF ENGINE OILS AND WHEN TO USE THEM
Protect your vehicles’ engines with the right oil.
All engine oils have many “jobs”. To simplify: An engine oil’s primary job is to provide sufficient lubrication to protect against the heat and friction caused by the moving parts inside internal combustion engines. However, not all engine oils are the same, and it’s vital to know which one is best suited for each job.
Engines that are properly maintained with the correct oil type will run smoother and last longer. But choosing the right oil can be complicated. Engine type and age, climate, and driving conditions all impact the wear and tear of automotive engines. Understanding the different engine oil types, specifications, and additives will help you select the best oil that matches the needs of each vehicle you service.
1. Full Synthetic Engine Oil
Today’s conventional engine oils are quality products made from refined crude oil. In comparison, modern full synthetic engine oils are created in a variety of ways ranging from severely hydro processing select crude stocks in order to precisely control the size and shape of base oil molecules to laboratory designed complex chemical compounds. Full synthetic oils are engineered to increase the performance of today’s more precision built and hotter-running engines as well as to meet fuel efficiency standards and emissions regulations.
2. Synthetic Blend Oil
Just as the name implies, this type of oil is a mixture of synthetic base stocks and conventional crude-based oil. Synthetic blends provide some of the performance advantages of a full synthetic at prices more closely comparable to conventional oils. Using full synthetic oil costs about 30% more than using a synthetic blend. While conventional oils will only last about 3,000-5,000 miles between oil changes, full synthetics can last up to 15,000 miles (sometimes more).Synthetic blends fall somewhere in the middle at about 7,500 miles. Therefore, using a synthetic blend provides a step up in protection without breaking the bank.
3. High Mileage Engine Oils
High-mileage motor oil is specially formulated for late model vehicles or newer vehicles with over 75,000 miles. High mileage motor oil, with its unique additives and formulation, helps to reduce oil burn-off, and helps prevent oil leaks that may occur in older engines.
4. Conventional Engine Oils
All conventional engine oils are initially refined from natural petroleum crude. With so many manufacturers switching to synthetic motor oils, you may wonder if it’s ever okay to use conventional oils. Conventional oils still have their place and can provide good protection under the right circumstances at a lower price. Conventional oils are typically used in older cars and those out of warranty and generally cost much less than synthetic oils. Those who are diligent about timely oil changes can use conventional oil, if the owner’s manual indicates it is permissible to do so. Additionally, more frequent oil changes can alert a mechanic to a serious problem developing in an engine.